9 Steps To Changing Your Car Oil

Changing your oil is one of the cheapest ways to ensure you get the most out of your car. Fresh oil keeps the engine running smoothly and stops the engine rings intact, preventing costly repairs. No matter how much you drive, no matter how often you drive, you can never go wrong with changing your oil several times per year. Think twice before telling yourself that your driving habits don’t require that you change your oil consistently. Below is an in-depth guide on how to change your oil.

1. Check Your Oil

Open the hood and pull out the dipstick. Clean the dipstick off and put it back in. Wait just a second and remove the stick. Make sure that the oil level is between the two markings on the stick. Checking your oil regularly will tell you how much oil you use, giving you a hint on when it is time to change the oil.

2. Decide What You Want

‘Do I want synthetic or real oil?’ is the question on most people’s minds at this point. Well, from synthetic oil’s first introduction, experts have been praising it. However, the cost has always been an issue. If you don’t mind shelling out double, sometimes triple the price per quart go with synthetic. Otherwise you should stick to real oil. You will also require an oil filter.

3. Jack Up the Car

Pull onto a solid surface, preferably concrete. Pull the parking break before you jack up the car. Apply blocks to the tires as well.

Use a hydraulic jack and a few jack stands to ensure that your car is properly lifted. If you know someone with a professionally outfitted garage, use his lift. It will allow you to stand under the car.

4. The Waiting Game

Locate the oil filter and place an oil pan under it. If the car has been started recently, allow it to cool down. Remove the oil cap from under the hood, then open the drain plug underneath the car. It will take several minutes for the oil to drain. While you wait clean the plug, any other objects you may have removed, and your tools.

5. Remove the Filter

The oil filter can be in several different places depending on the car. Once located, unscrew the oil filter. You may be able to do this by hand, or you may require a specialty tool to get it off. The drain pan should be under the filter upon removal. The best way to deal with the oil filter is to put it in several paper bags. The bags will absorb the oil left in the filter. You can recap your drain plug at this point if you haven’t already.

6. Install the New Filter

Before installing the filter, dip some oil around the lip. This ensures that you will be able to more easily remove the filter next time. Allow some of the oil to drip down into the filter itself too. This helps the car get back to normal oil pressure.

Now screw in the new filter. Be careful to thread it properly or suffer the consequences. A properly screwed oil filter will leak.

7. Pour in Your Oil

Different cars take different amounts of oil, so you should check your owner’s manual to find out how much to put in. Some oil reservoirs are located in inconvenient places. You may require a special oil funnel to safely poor in the oil.

8. Replace the Cap and Start the Engine

Make sure you screw the oil cap on before you start the engine. Double check your drain plug and oil filter too. Safely lower your car by removing jack stands then lower your jack. Now you can start the engine, leaving the park break on, and check for any oil leaks.

9. Check Your Oil Again

Repeat the first step, ensuring that oil levels are right. You’re now good to drive for another 3,000 miles or so.


Actually, the ‘every 3,000 mile oil change’ is old news. This was good advice at one point; however, in the last 15 years or so, cars have been made more efficient at making use of its oil. If you don’t have your owner’s manual, check online to see when the best time to change your oil is and stick to it.

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